There have been a lot of low points this last week. The exhaustion, teething, the girl not napping, blah, blah, blah. But there have also been some highs. Learning that the boy is ticklish under his arm, watching the girl pretend that the laundry basket she and her brother are in is a boat, hearing her say "you are awesome mommy". And this.
The girl was with me in the kitchen while I was making a late dinner. She asked for a story, but I was focused on preparing the food and suggested she listen to some music instead. I went to turn on the CD player, but she cried "no mommy, not that music". She ran to the CD rack and pointed up. I grabbed a CD, but no, she didn't want that one. "I want a pile mommy, so I can choose". I gave her a pile.
She didn't realize what she had done when she handed me the case for Blue by Joni Mitchell. She didn't know that "Carey" is one of the songs on the collection. But she does know "Carey" because I sing it to her almost every night.
I am not a musical person. I can take or leave music. While our radio is always on during the day it is tuned to CBC 1 so the only music I hear is the music chosen for me by a number of different radio hosts. I don't know what songs are popular and what songs aren't. I can barely remember the words to a song, no matter how many times I hear it.
"Carey" and the Blue collection (I want to say album but since it is a CD I can't) are the exception. Blue was one of the few tapes I listed to in high school. Somehow it made it's way to me (my mom? my dad?) and I listened to it over and over while I studied for my grade twelve final exams. Usually I needed complete silence to study. With Blue it got to the point that I had listened to it so often I didn't hear it anymore. I felt it.
Of all the songs "Carey" spoke to me the most. Joni Mitchell sings about needing to leave her man and the beach life they are living to get back to the city, any city. As I sat studying for exams I imagined that this would be me soon. After exams two friends and I took of for Paris, Greece and England. I pair of eighteen year olds and a seventeen year old (me). It was my first time overseas and while I was looking forward to a slow, relaxing time in Greece it turned out that the island we were staying on was too quiet for us. So off we went to London. It was my first real adventure and provided me with a taste for English life that prompted me to return over a year later to work.
When the girl was born I struggled to learn the words to songs that I could sing her. I finally mastered all the verses of "Baby Beluga", "Mamma's Gonna Buy You A Mocking Bird" and "I Gave My Love A Cherry". But those were songs for her not me. One day I started singing "Carey" to her. It sometimes seems strange to sing about going "down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine" but I know that singing it to her will give her a memory of who I am. Of what I like.
I put the CD in the player tonight and pressed play. When the first song came on, I decided to skip ahead and find "Carey". As the familiar music started I asked the girl if she recognized the song. I told her she knew it. It wasn't until I started singing "the wind is in from Africa" that she realized what she was listening to. "Carey?" she asked. I answered yes and we started dancing. We moved and spun and twirled. "We have to hold hands and dance" she said. So we did. She started singing "I'll put on some silk".
And we danced. To our song.